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The People's Champ

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Bush wants to boost patriot act
    #4195751 - 05/19/05 03:27 PM (13 years, 1 month ago)

Plan Would Broaden FBI's Anti-Terror Role
By ERIC LICHTBLAU, The New York Times

WASHINGTON (May 18) - The Bush administration and Senate Republican leaders are pushing a plan that would significantly expand the FBI's power to demand business records in terror investigations without obtaining approval from a judge, officials said on Wednesday.

The proposal, which is likely to be considered next week in a closed session of the Senate intelligence committee, would allow federal investigators to subpoena records from businesses and other institutions without a judge's sign-off if they declared that the material was needed as part of a foreign intelligence investigation.

The proposal, part of a broader plan to extend antiterrorism powers under the law known as the USA Patriot Act, was concluded in recent days by Republican leaders on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in consultation with the Bush administration, Congressional officials said.

Administration and Congressional officials who support the idea said the proposal would give the FBI a much-needed tool to track leads in terrorism and espionage investigations that would be quicker and less cumbersome than existing methods. They pointed out that the administrative subpoena power being sought for the FBI in terror cases was already in use in more than 300 other types of crimes, including health care fraud, child exploitation, racketeering and drug trafficking.

"Why not provide that same tool to national security investigators as well?" asked an aide to the intelligence committee who was involved in the proposal, speaking on condition of anonymity because the issue will be discussed at a closed meeting scheduled for May 26. "There wasn't really a whole lot of cogent argument against it."

But word of the proposal on Wednesday generated immediate protests from civil rights advocates, who said that it would give the FBI virtually unchecked authority in terror investigations, and the plan is likely to intensify the growing debate in Congress over the balance between fighting terrorism and protecting privacy rights.

"This is a dramatic expansion of the federal government's power," said Lisa Graves, senior counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union in Washington. "It's really a power grab by the administration for the FBI to secretly demand medical records, tax records, gun purchase records and all sorts of other material if they deem it relevant to an intelligence investigation."

Kevin Madden, a spokesman for the Justice Department, said department officials welcomed the intelligence committee's efforts "to support provisions that enhance law enforcement's ability to combat terrorism effectively and are particularly heartened by their support for the USA Patriot Act."

Support for the idea among many Democrats and some Republicans in Congress is uncertain, and the Senate intelligence committee's plan to push the proposal could set off a struggle with the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Judiciary Committee has joint authority for oversight of foreign intelligence surveillance law - which would be expanded under the current proposal - but its members have shown some reluctance to expand the FBI's counterterrorism powers.

A Judiciary Committee aide said that Arlen Specter, the Pennsylvania Republican who leads the Judiciary Committee, wanted to study the intelligence committee's proposal closely to determine if it was warranted. "Being a former prosecutor, he understands what tools are needed for law enforcement, but he also understands that there are serious concerns about ensuring people's liberties," said the aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of provoking tensions with the intelligence committee.

With 16 provisions of the Patriot Act set to expire at the end of the year, the Bush administration has made the permanent extension of the law one of its top legislation priorities. But critics are seeking to scale back provisions in the law that they say are vulnerable to abuse, and more than 380 governmental bodies, including seven states, have adopted formal resolutions voicing concerns about the broad reach of the law.

One provision of the law that has generated perhaps more criticism than any other is Section 215, derided by critics as the "library records" provision. It allows the FBI to go to a secret intelligence court to demand access to material from businesses and other institutions as part of intelligence investigations.

The Justice Department said in a newly declassified report last month that it had used the power 35 times since late 2003 to gain information on apartment leasing, driver's licenses, financial records and other data in intelligence investigations. But it stressed that it had not used the authority to date to demand records from libraries or bookstores or to get information related to medical or gun records - all areas of concern to critics.

Democrats and civil liberties advocates said on Wednesday that they were concerned that the FBI's expanded subpoena power under the intelligence committee's proposal would render obsolete the limited safeguards under Section 215. While that provision requires the Justice Department to receive the approval of the secret intelligence court before demanding records, the administrative subpoenas under the new proposal would not.

"This all comes down to not wanting an FBI agent to have to go to a prosecutor and then the court to get formal approval for a subpoena," said a Democratic Congressional official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the intelligence committee's proposal is still considered confidential. "This becomes a substitute."

But supporters of the plan said they had built in safeguards.

The FBI could only issue the demands for records with the approval of the director or senior officials down through the rank of a special agent in charge, officials said. In addition, those given subpoenas would not automatically be bound to silence unless the FBI determined that disclosure could threaten national security. The Justice Department would have to report twice a year on its use of the power, and the law would be amended to specify that material must be "relevant" to a foreign intelligence investigation.

Hi  :scrambled:

My god... it's full of stars...

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The People's Champ

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Re: Bush wants to boost patriot act [Re: StrandedVoyager]
    #4195759 - 05/19/05 03:28 PM (13 years, 1 month ago)

I think it's interesting to note the poll that went along with this article on AOL News.

The Patriot Act should:
Be scrapped altogether 41%
Be scaled back 28%
Be expanded 21%
Be extended as is 10%

Which is of more concern to you right now?
Protecting my civil liberties 70%
Protecting the U.S. from terrorists 30%
Total Votes: 17,180

The people seem to be waking up.

Hi  :scrambled:

My god... it's full of stars...

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Cacti junky
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Re: Bush wants to boost patriot act [Re: StrandedVoyager]
    #4195848 - 05/19/05 03:45 PM (13 years, 1 month ago)

Those numbers wouldn't have been so astounding had you not mentioned 17,180 involved. That's a clear sign the people know or at least have a general idea of exactly what it is the government is trying to do with all this "patriot" crap that's supposedly helping fight terrorism

Manoa said:
I need to stop spending all my money on plants and take up a cheaper hobby, like heroin. :lol:

Looking for Rauhocereus riosaniensis seeds or live specimen(s), :pm: me if you have any for trade

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Fred's son

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Re: Bush wants to boost patriot act [Re: SuperD]
    #4196104 - 05/19/05 04:42 PM (13 years, 1 month ago)

Online polls are worthless. Even if they were run fairly they are completely unrepresentative of the population as a whole. But they are impossible to run fairly because it is child's play to spoof them.



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Error: divide byzero

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Re: Bush wants to boost patriot act [Re: Phred]
    #4198395 - 05/20/05 07:11 AM (13 years, 1 month ago)

> Online polls are worthless

Correct. Even scientific polls have to be take with a grain of salt. Recently they did two gallup polls regarding same-sex marriages. The only difference in the polls was a single word. In one, they used the word 'homosexuals' and in the second they used the word 'gays'. There was around a 12% difference in affirmative responses between the two polls, simply based on the choice of one word.

Just another spore in the wind.

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Live to party,work to affordit.
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Re: Bush wants to boost patriot act [Re: Seuss]
    #4198831 - 05/20/05 11:16 AM (13 years, 1 month ago)

this is bullshit. if they pass this we might as well flush the Constitution down the toilet.

America's debt problem is a "sign of leadership failure"

We have "reckless fiscal policies"

America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership.

Americans deserve better

Barack Obama

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Registered: 05/19/05
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Last seen: 13 years, 1 month
Re: Bush wants to boost patriot act [Re: lonestar2004]
    #4198873 - 05/20/05 11:26 AM (13 years, 1 month ago)

It's already been setting in the toilet for years and been pissed on by both major parties as they tell us how great it is.

Respect my authority!

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